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WHEELS OF CHANGE: Skill-biased factor endowments and industrialisation in eighteenth century England

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

The important English textile centres of the eighteenth century evolved in places that had more grinding watermills hundreds of years earlier during the Domesday Survey, according to research by Joel Mokyr, Assaf Sarid and Karine van der Beek, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference. Their study confirms the key role of factor endowments for industrialisation.

The main manifestation of an industrial revolution taking place in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century was the shift of textile production (that is, the spinning process) from a cottage-based manual system to a factory-based capital-intensive system, with machinery driven by waterpower and later on by steam.

BRITAIN’S POST-BREXIT TRADE: Learning from the Edwardian origins of imperial preference

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

As UK policy-makers and the public contemplate a return to the halcyon days of the British Empire, there is much to be learned from those past policies that attempted to cultivate trade along imperial lines. New research by Brian Varian of Swansea University considers the effect of the earliest policies of imperial preference: those enacted during the Edwardian era.

The findings, from a case study of New Zealand to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference, cast doubt on the effectiveness of these polices at raising Britain’s share in the imports of the Dominions.

TAMING POWERFUL CORPORATE INTERESTS: Lessons from the early years of European integration

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

New research to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference explores the Ruhr's mining industry and its power struggle with the High Authority (HA) of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in the 1950s. The HA is usually seen as a failure by historians and political scientists because it did not succeed in enforcing the ECSC’s treaty against the member states’ national interests.

But according to a study by Juliane Czierpka of the HA’s dispute with the Ruhr’s mining industry over the organisation of their coal sales, the HA managed to break up traditional industrial structures in the Ruhr area, even though the mining industry fought fiercely for their cartel and was supported by the German government – which had initially sold the mining industry out for membership in the ECSC.

A CONSTANT WATER SUPPLY REDUCES WATER-BORNE ILLNESS: Lessons for modern water policy from London's 19th century mortality decline

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

London’s move to a constant water supply in the late nineteenth century dramatically reduced mortality, according to research by Werner Troeksen, Nicola Tynan and Artemis Yang, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference. Their study finds that for every 5% increase in the number of households with a constant supply, deaths from water-borne illnesses fell 3%.

As constant water supply reached more people, mortality from diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and cholera combined fell. With 24-hour supply, water was regularly available for everyone without risk of contamination. Unsurprisingly, poorer, crowded districts had higher mortality from water-borne diseases.

HOW THE BANK OF ENGLAND MANAGED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 1847

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

What drives a central bank’s decision to grant or refuse liquidity provision during a financial crisis? How does the central bank manage counterparty risk during such periods of high demand for liquidity, when time constraints make it hard to process all relevant information? How does a central bank juggle the provision of large amounts of liquidity with its monetary policy obligations?

All of these questions were live issues for the Bank of England during the financial crisis of 1847 just as they would be in 2007. Research by Kilian Rieder (University of Oxford),Michael Anson, David Bholat, Miao Kang & Ryland Thomas (Bank of England) to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference, uses archival data to shed light on these questions by looking at the Bank’s discount window policies in the crisis year of 1847.

POSITIVE EFFECTS OF FISCAL POLICY ON ECONOMIC GROWTH: New evidence from the Great Depression in Britain

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

Tax changes had a major impact on changes in GDP during the Great Depression in Britain, according to research by James Cloyne, Nicholas Dimsdale and Natacha Postel-Vinay, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference.

Their study indicates that the estimated value of the fiscal multiplier for these tax changes is greater than unity and as much as two to three. They conclude that the implications for the potential benefits of fiscal policy in a high-debt, low-interest rate environment – and over a turbulent business cycle – may be significant.

WAGES OF SIN: How the colonial plantation system survived the end of slavery in the British Empire

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

New banks created after 1834, when the British Empire emancipated its slaves, helped planters to evade the major social and economic changes that abolitionists had wanted and which their opponents had feared. By investing their slavery compensation money in banks that then offered cash and credit, the planters could prolong and even expand their place in economies and societies built on the plantation system and the exploitation of black labour.

These are among the findings of research by Aaron Graham of the University College London, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference. His study follows the £20 million paid in compensation by the British government in 1834, which is equivalent to about £20 billion today. This money was paid not to the slaves but to the former slave-owners for the loss of their human property.

UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS? Experiences of female servants in England, 1550-1650

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

Contrary to the depiction of televised historical dramas like Downton Abbey, service was not an experience that always confined women to a life below stairs in their employers’ homes. According to a new study of sixteenth and seventeenth century England, female servants spent only around 50% of their time inside the home. Their working and social lives took them into the streets, fields, marketplaces and a variety of other spaces.

The research by Charmian Mansell of the University of Exeter, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference, finds that around 60% of 15-24 year olds were employed in rural and urban, rich and poor households across the country in exchange for wages, bed and board.

OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF LAND BY WOMEN IN 19th CENTURY ENGLAND

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

New research by independent scholar Janet Casson provides fresh insights into the ownership and control of land by women in nineteenth century England. Her study, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference, draws on the records of railway surveyors laying out new routes, who made detailed maps and carefully recorded the usage and ownership of every affected property in books of reference.

Statistical analysis of the information reveals that women owned, either singly or jointly, about 12% of that land. Detailed profiles of 348 women show that if a woman shared ownership and if so, with whom; a woman owning alone had a higher degree of control than a woman owing with others.

LONDON FOG: New evidence of a century of pollution and mortality, 1866-1965

Date:
06 Apr 2018

Summary:

New research by Walker Hanlon shows that air pollution was a major contributor to mortality in London during the century from 1866 to 1965, accounting for at least one out of every 200 deaths during this century. The study, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference, also shows that as London developed, the impact of air pollution changed.

In the nineteenth century, Londoners suffered from a range of infectious diseases, including respiratory diseases like measles and tuberculosis. Being exposed to high levels of air pollution made these diseases deadlier, while the presence of these diseases made air pollution more harmful. As a result, when public health and medical improvements reduced the prevalence of these infectious diseases, they also lowered the mortality cost of pollution exposure.

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